Thursday, October 4

Great e-Learning Books Summarized (e-LearningGuru)

e-LearningGuru? was founded by Kevin Kruse. He started this site as a way to offer the e-learning community practical information in a plain-language format. This amazing site has evolved into a free e-learning portal (No.1 according to the site!) serving more than 40,000 professionals each month, and is today peppered with articles, white papers, interviews, book summaries and links to the best sites on the ‘net.

As mentioned above, the e-LearningGuru site is peppered with juice, so it is difficult to hit the bulls eye or extract the core juice. However, in this post I want to share with you the a list of 5-minute summaries of great e-learning books (If you are a slow reader, or want to spend some time reflecting while reading, it should probably take you around 10-30 minutes per book summary). Currently, you can find the following book summaries on the site (All in PDF format):

Ironically, based on my observation and experience we still seem to love learning about e-learning reading the good old hard copy paper versions. I mean who would want to read about e-learning through an e-book? Personally, I prefer reading articles online (below 15 pages!), but when it comes to books the traditional paper version still works best for me. I suppose when the future technology becomes easier-to-use, faster and more comfortable and soothing to our eyes, we will read more books in some form of e-format (electronic paper?).

Book summaries in general are useful when you want to easily and quickly access the core message or essence of what the book is about. Especially, if you have read many books in a particular field, such book summaries are great, because you can use your existing knowledge and experiences to decipher and understand. Also, these book summaries can give us an idea whether we should invest our time and money to read the full version. However, if you are new to a particular field (and old I suppose!) book summaries might give you a shallow understanding (or none at all!) of the real objectives of the book. Also, book summaries usually do not cover the juicy stories (or case studies) discussed, and instead focuses more on the core concepts, principles, facts, processes and practices.

In a way, we humans are genetically and socially encoded to learn more effectively from stories. We have been learning from stories ever since our parents began reading to us baby books (or ever since Adam and Eve!). Put it another way, what do you remember from a course one year (or more) after taking it? Or what do you remember from your student learning days (School, College, University!) ? I suppose what we learn is stored some where in our great brain, but the things that we can easily retrieve without much effort are often related to memorable and meaningful stories.

I suppose if we embed or relate stories (emotional component) to what we are teaching/facilitating (logical component) it will have a more effective learning outcome. Add practice, feedback, discussion and reflection, and we seem to have a great model to effectively engage and learn. Hmm, back to book summaries! Alright, what I am trying to say is that book summaries are useful, but they could become even more useful if they also summarize or select a few juicy stories from the book, and relate it to the key points or contents.

A book summary with a few related juicy stories would probably evolve into a 10-minute learning adventure, but it just might captivate our minds more, and last in our memory for a life time :)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

E-learning solutions have several advantages to the learner: Things such as, increased retention, reduced learning time, On-demand availability, self-pacing, interactivity and confidence that refresher or quick reference materials are available reduces
burden of responsibility of mastery.